but due to ship out tomorrow. The recording sessions went well and we picked up a gig last weekend at the Bulls Head Pub where I saw Barbara Thompson and her band back in the summer of 1978. It’s still a really small place.  Both Hank and Harold have been working on some new tunes that we sandwiched in at the gig and they went over well. The audiences so far this tour have been just wonderful and I can’t say enough about everyone’s hospitality. I would like to say a word about the recent work my musical buddy Dave Stafford has been doing to bring the website at http://www.pureambient.com to a new level of excellence. Please go visit there and check out the evolving world of music, images and words that he’s assembled and while you’re there grab a free download of musical samplings from the label. I hope to get up to see Dave in Scotland next time I’m this way, but meanwhile my hats off to him and Ken Mistove for all their hard work. I’ll post you folks when we get to the next destination on this musical adventure, thanks again for checking in and listening to the At-The-Helm podcast series. I’m hoping to gather together enough material soon to put a new show up,  I’ll keep you posted. Thanks again to the Twisted Papers boys for the great travel images used in this “tour” blog.  Have a good day.

this time of year. We were in Nice last year (which is not far away) but I like it here even more. This is the 50th anniversary of the Festival De Jazz A Juan this year and the list of artists is amazing. We’re not headlining any shows but I’m just grateful to be on the bill.  I don’t know where we go next but it’ll be hard to top the folks here. I just finished reading a book I enjoyed very much that I’d like to recommend for some summer reading. It’s titled “On Some Faraway Beach- The Life and Times of  Brian Eno”  by David Sheppard published in 2008 by Chicago Review Press. It’s a well written and informative portrait of one of the most creative sound artists of the last 40 years. I think anyone with an interest in ambient or modern pop music will find this book to be a good read,  I certainly did. Well I should get going , many thanks for stopping by the blog. Thanks also to those folks who have been listening to the My Life In Sound podcast series , they’re free and worth every penny you know!  Take care, stay cool, more soon.

Special thanks to the great guys at Twisted Papers for the imagery!

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and days of commotion,we’re almost done here in Amsterdam.  Eddie is eager to finish this date and move on to the south of France for a big jazz festival we’re booked to play next week. The new singer he’s found (Annette) is warming up to the band and actually she’s much better than his last “discovery” whose name the Headstock brothers and I both seem to have blocked out of our minds (not a  bad place to frequent, as it were). So both Hank and Harold are back along with the regulars and a new sax player who goes by “Rico”. I’m getting a feeling a lot of the dates coming up are not set in stone, but Eddie always manages to do the deal even if it’s in the eleventh hour.  My wife tells me it’s between hot and too hot back home so I’m happy with the weather here,  hope it’s not too unpleasant in your neck of the woods.  Not much else to tell at the moment here. I’ll post when we get to the next location with internet, hopefully in a few days. Meanwhile thanks for stopping by and for listening to the podcast series. For those of you who might want to try a little sonic fun with your computer here’s a link to visit and check out:

http://web.mit.edu/~eric_r/Public/mmmtsss/

Have a good day, more soon, take care.

That 1 Guy posterMy apologies for being off the radar for so long. the last few months have been busy but not very musical. Many thanks to all the new folks who have come to read this blog and enjoy the podcast series. I see from statistics that a lot more folks have been listening to the at-the-helm series lately and I hope it’s been enjoyable for them. A couple of musical things have been going on. I’ve started work on the music for “Omegastop” the next film from Ian Helm, but the going is slow so far.  Some  followers of  this series will remember other pieces written for possible use in this film featured as parts of Episodes 32 & 33 . I’ve been practicing my mandolin and hope to include it in the soundtrack work also. Speaking of practice , I spoke with Eddie on the phone yesterday and he confirmed that the orchestra is set to sail July 1st  for a 12 week tour and he’s found a new female singer that he’s crazy about. Should be fun, I’m starting to pack, I’ll be blogging from the road again.

So what’s up with the picture above?  Well it’s just a little memento  from a great show I went to on May 22 of this year down in Denver CO which featured (as you can see)  That 1 Guy and the Magic Pipe.  I had seen him in November of last year at a different venue and was floored by his entire show. It was nice to bring other friends along to share this unique and entertaining artist’s work. I met him briefly before the show and shared my enthusiasm for his current recording which is called “Packs A Wallop!” A very aptly titled collection from a great musician and genuinely nice guy, don’t miss this artist when he comes to your town.  My son Ian has put together a little video piece for one of the tracks from the new CD and it’s featured on the official website. You can also see it here:

So that’s it for now, more coming soon. Thanks for stopping by and have a good day.

in Japan, but the local hot springs are one of the nicest features of any stop so far on this tour. Also the people here have been so friendly and helpful. I had a broken latch on my accordion case that the hotel recommended a local man to repair and he did a wonderful job for a minimal fee with no waiting. The shows have been going well, Eddie even seems happy although he’s a bit under the weather (spelled Saki) today. But that’s okay cause we don’t ship out till Friday (for S. America) , and I have an alternate media choice for this weeks music pick. My oldest son Ian has just made available on-line to view, a copy of his student film “Collywobbles” from 2006. I contribute the musical selections for this film which I think you’ll find amusing. Be forewarned this short film features puppet on puppet violence. You can view it at the link listed below. Hope all you folks are having a safe and happy holiday season so far, my best to all of you and thanks again for checking in on me. Thanks to the boys at twistedpapers.com for the travel images. More soon…..

http://fusedmuse.com/?page_id=21

where we’ve been very busy catching up on all aspects of life on the road,while we wait to head to Japan next. I have to say that I’ll miss all the stuff you can get to eat here. It’s been amazing food, even the Headstock brothers say the variety of grub has never been better on a tour stop with Eddie. As a nod to being in Hong Kong  Mr. Ersatz has chosen the fourth album from Siouxie and the Banshees titled “Juju” for the pick of the week.  Although not the album that “Hong Kong Garden” is taken from, “Juju” is one of the greatest recordings by any band of that era.  Released in June of 1981 on Polydor,  this album features wonderful guitar work from the late John McGeoch , percussion with “punch” from Budgie, dark and dangerous bass from Steven Severin, and the lilting lovely voice of the one and only Siouxie Sioux.  Every track here is a winner but my personal two favorites back to back are “Halloween” and “Monitor” that close the A side of the album. The goth side of punk never got any better than this collection of tunes, good call Eddie.  Well that’s it for now from here, time to practice and pack for Japan, more to come soon, take care and thanks for checking in. image courtesy of twistedpapers.com

shanghaihere in Shanghai. The temperature is in the high 70’s a nice change of pace from the last couple of stops we’ve made. This city is huge, they tell me there are 20 million people in the greater metropolitan area and growing. As far as I know we’re only due to stay here a couple of days before we head on to points north, so I don’t if I’ll get a chance to see any of the sites or not. I’m hoping to get to see the City God Temple if I do. At any rate I hear it’s snowing up a storm back home( around a foot and a half at the house) but my wife says it’s clearing out and supposed to warm gradually in the days to come. The talk of snow has reminded Eddie of one of his favorite albums which he puts forward as this weeks recording of note. The album is “Dis” by Jan Garbarek released in 1977 on the ECM label.  Jan on saxaphones and wood flute is joined by Ralph Towner on 12 string and classical guitars with field recordings of a windharp in the mix for three of the six pieces including the title track. This music has a rare spacious nature to it , which is a quality present in a number of releases on this label over the years. To Mr. Ersatz’s credit, I find “Dis” to be as listenable today as it was when I first heard it over 30 years ago, well worth checking out. Speaking of checking out I should go down to the front desk and see what this “message” light on the phone in my room means. I’ll write more soon as I get elsewhere,  Happy Halloween and take care. Image courtesy of twistedpapers.com

dehliwhere it’s still warm but not quite as much as the Sudan was. This is a city full of history and people, quite unlike anywhere we’ve visited so far on this tour. The manager of the club we’re playing is an old friend of Eddie’s and we might stay a couple of extra days to play a party for a mutual friend they seem to owe a favor to. Hank and Harold are going out tomorrow to see some ancient religious sites and I might tag along if I feel up to it. After we leave here we are supposedly off to China next, although transportation issues are still arising..we’ll see. Meanwhile Mr. Ersatz has requested that this weeks recording of note be “Marscape” by Jack Lancaster and Robin Lumley. Released in 1976 on the RSO label this album features all the members of the band Brand X plus Jack Lancaster on woodwinds and Bernie Frost and Simon Jeffes. It’s a great collection of fusion oriented tunes played with a mixture of delicacy and gusto. Mr. Phil Collins turns in a rock solid performance on the skins here as do the rest of the Brand X boys on their respective instruments. I was lucky enough to see Brand X back in the summer of 1977 and it was a high energy show and I had a front row seat ,  it was a great night as I recall. Anyway a wonderful disc to check out , should you get a chance. Speaking of chance I think I’ll try and find someplace close by to get some dinner. Hope all you folks back home are doing OK, thanks for checking in on me. I’ll post next when we move on from here, take care. Thanks again to the guys at twistedpapers.com for the great images I’ve been using in  this “Tour” blog.

khartoamshould be the title of this post. After a few days here in Khartoum I’m ready for a cool down. It’s been in the low 100’s every day here so far and the hotel we are staying at, lacks any of the comforts that would alleviate that state.  It cools down to the low 80’s at night, but the ballroom we’ve been playing in retains the heat of the day more than I would prefer. At any rate tonight is our last one here and then it’s farther east to points not fixed yet. My wife back in the states informs me that some friends of ours have contacted her to express their good wishes for me on my journey as described in this blog. I should remind those folks and any others who might be “believing” this bit of fun, to refer to my blog entry from the 21st of June this year, which addresses the “reality” aspect of this trip and my companions. Speaking of Mr. Ersatz…. Eddie’s musical pick of the week is an album titled “Divisions On A Ground”  by Richard Harvey, originally released on Transatlantic records in 1975. Being an introduction to the recorder and it’s music this disc features Harvey on recorders along with a six piece ensemble. Recorded at St. Paul’s Church, Wimbledon Park, London in July & August 1974.  The works here ( by Vivaldi,  Matthysz, Handel,  Finger,  van Eyck, and Loeillet ) span about a century of Baroque music at it’s popular peak. Mr Harvey though a mere 21 years of age when this record was made, brings 17 years of playing the instrument to bear on these pieces with beautiful results. No real standout number here,  just a wonderful collection of gracefully performed musical works that are a great listen. Well that’s about it from here for now, hope all is well for you folks wherever your are, please stay tuned for more. Image courtesy of twistedpapers.com

cairofrom beautiful Cairo, Egypt.  It’s been sunny and warm since we left Greece with no major distractions on the route. Hank didn’t seem to enjoy his time on board the boat as much as his brother Harold, but he seems to have recovered now.  The schedule only calls for us to be here for a few days before we head south to the Sudan where I understand it’s quite a bit warmer than here.  This is a really bustling city and I hope to get out and see it while I’m here. There is also a music shop that I want to visit while I’m here that is supposed to have some accordion related items I’m seeking. Speaking of music…Eddie has asked me tell you that the pick this week  is ” Travelling” by John Williams (the guitarist) released in 1978 on Cube records in the UK.   Mr Williams is joined on this recording by some excellent players as they explore  contemporary reworkings of some of the classic gems of  J.S. Bach and more. Having studied with Segovia early in his career, Mr. Williams displays a level of fierce exactitude in his performances that helps drive these modern arrangements. The album is arranged and produced by Stanley Myers. My favorite track is the version of  “Sheep May Safely Graze” arranged by and featuring Richard Harvey on recorders.  A very pleasant musical excursion that you might enjoy if you give it a chance. Well Hank must be feeling better cause he’s at my door and wants to catch a bite to eat before the gig, so we are off to find some food. You folks all have a good day and I’ll post when we head south later in the week.

image courtesy of twistedpapers.com